NEW YORK (APCSN)David Priceof the Tampa Bay Rays and knuckleballerR.A. Dickeyof the New York Mets won baseball's Cy Young awards on Wednesday. Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants placed sixth in the National League voting, the highest finish of his career, after going 16-5 with a 2.79 ERA and 193 strikeouts.Price barely beat out 2011 winnerJustin Verlanderfor the American League prize in one of the closest votes ever. Dickey was an easy choice for the NL honor in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.The 38-year-old Dickey became the first pitcher who relied predominantly on a knuckleball to win the Cy Young Award, an achievement mentors such as Hall of Famer Phil Niekro are quite proud of.Runner-up two years ago in the Cy Young race, Price was the pick this time for the AL's top pitching prize. He received 14 of 28 first-place votes to edge Verlander, chosen first on 13 ballots.Other than a 1969 tie between Mike Cuellar and Denny McLain, it was the tightest race in the history of the AL award.Rays closerFernando Rodneygot the other first-place vote and came in fifth.Price went 20-5 to tieJered Weaverfor the American League lead in victories and winning percentage. The 27-year-old lefty had the lowest ERA at 2.56 and finished sixth in strikeouts with 205.Verlander, also the league MVP a year ago, followed that up by going 17-8 with a 2.64 ERA and pitching the Detroit Tigers to the World Series. He led the majors in strikeouts (239), innings (238 1-3) and complete games (six).Price tossed 211 innings in 31 starts, while Verlander made 33. One factor that might have swung some votes, however: Price faced stiffer competition in the rugged AL East than Verlander did in the AL Central.Weaver came in third with 70 points, but was listed second on a pair of ballots. The right-hander threw a no-hitter and had a 2.81 ERA in his first 20-win season but missed time with injuries and totaled only 188 2-3 innings for the Los Angeles Angels.The top pick in the 2007 amateur draft out of Vanderbilt, Price reached the majors the following year and has made three straight All-Star teams.Despite going 19-6 with a 2.72 ERA in 2010, he finished a distant second in Cy Young voting toFelix Hernandez, who won only 13 games for last-place Seattle but dominated most other statistical categories that year.Verlander was trying to become the first AL pitcher to win back-to-back Cy Youngs since Boston's Pedro Martinez in 1999 and 2000. San Francisco right-handerTim Lincecumdid it in the National League in 2008-09.Dickey drew 27 of 32 first-place votes and outdistanced 2011 winnerClayton Kershawof the Los Angeles Dodgers. Gio Gonzalez of Washington finished third.
MESA, Ariz. —The A's optioned starter Jesse Hahn to Triple-Nashville on Sunday and announced that lefty Ross Detwiler has opted out of his minor league contract to become a free agent.
Hahn’s demotion brings Oakland's rotation into focus, with Andrew Triggs and Raul Alcantara lined up as the fourth and fifth starters, respectively, behind Kendall Graveman, Sean Manaea and Jharel Cotton. Sonny Gray will begin the season on the disabled list.
Hahn got off to a strong start this spring but struggled mightily in his last two starts, giving up 12 earned runs combined. It’s the second spring in a row that he’s entered camp looking to lock down a rotation spot before getting sent down, but the right-hander believes he’s better equipped to handle this setback.
“It’s disappointing for sure, because I set a goal this spring and that was to make the rotation,” Hahn said. “I didn’t do that, but I can’t get down on myself. I have to stay positive. I think I did a lot of positive things this spring. … I’m not going to let this one get me down. I’ve been through that situation last year. I learned from it. So I’m not going to make the same mistakes that I did last year.”
Gray’s injury, a strained lat muscle that’s expected to sideline him most of April, left two spots at the back of the rotation. The A’s are turning to right-handers Triggs and Alcantara, who have combined for just 11 big league starts between them.
Certainly with Triggs, this scenario had been developing for a while. Front office officials had talked him up since the beginning of the offseason as a rotation possibility. He's posted a 5.06 ERA in five exhibitions (three starts), but he looked very sharp in his last outing Wednesday against the White Sox.
Alcantara is out of minor league options, and the A’s wanted to keep him whether it was in a starting or relief role. His ERA is 4.50 over six appearances (three starts), but like Triggs, his most recent start was his most effective.
“Both of these guys will get an opportunity they haven’t had before,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.
Sunday’s developments could have a trickle-down effect with other parts of the roster. The A’s are in a better position now to keep five outfielders if they want and go with the standard seven relievers. Going with eight relievers and four outfielders seemed more likely when Alcantara was still a bullpen consideration just to keep him from hitting the waiver wire.
Non-roster invitees Alejandro De Aza and Jaff Decker, who is slated to return Monday from an oblique injury, are the primary candidates to be the fifth outfielder, although Chris Parmelee, another non-roster player, has quietly had a good spring.
The seventh bullpen spot could go to Daniel Coulombe if the A’s deem it important to have a second lefty, or they could go with impressive right-handed prospect Frankie Montas, who would be more of a multi-inning reliever asked to get both lefties and righties out. Of course, they could still opt for an eight-man ‘pen if they want a second lefty and think it’s necessary to keep Montas as a length guy.
Detwiler was on the fringe of the rotation competition and also could have been a bullpen consideration. But he posted an 11.88 ERA over eight appearances. The lefty is now free to sign with any club, though Melvin didn’t rule out the chance of Detwiler returning at some point.
Khris Davis, out recently with right quad soreness, will play in a minor league game Sunday along with Decker. If Davis comes out of it well, Melvin said he will DH on Monday.
In another injury update, third baseman Trevor Plouffe is doing OK after tweaking an abductor muscle in his groin. Melvin is aiming to get him in one more game before the A’s fly north Wednesday, and then Plouffe will have the Bay Bridge Series to make sure he’s ready.
Lazaro Armenteros, the A’s 17-year-old stud outfield prospect better known as “Lazarito,” is believed to have become the youngest player in franchise history to appear in a Cactus League game.
Armenteros entered at the DH spot in the eighth against the Dodgers and went 0-for-2, flying out to right-center and popping up to shallow center. With the A’s short on position players, Armenteros was brought over from minor league camp and got a little exposure to the big league environment.
“He’s quite athletic, and I know they love him over there” at minor league camp, A's manager Bob Melvin recently said.
Armenteros also got a chance to mingle with Dodger outfielder (and fellow Cuban) Yasiel Puig before the game.
“Over there (in Cuba) you kind of play the game because you like it and you enjoy it,” Armenteros recently said through interpreter Juan Dorado. “Here, it’s more like a job. There’s more preparation.”
Armenteros will stay in Arizona through extended spring training and then head to play in the Dominican Summer League.